Don McDermott

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDonald Joseph "Don"•McDermott
Used nameDon•McDermott
Born7 December 1929 in Bronx, New York (USA)
Died1 November 2020
AffiliationsGrossinger Skating Club
NOC United States


Like many other American speed skaters of the 40s and 50s, Don McDermott never won a national title, because they were totally monopolized by Ken Bartholomew, but McDermott won his share of races. His first big title came at the 1949 Silver Skates in Madison Square Garden, and in the next two years he won several other invitational races and the Chicago Silver Skates. At the 1952 Olympics, he finished second behind fellow American Ken Henry. McDermott also competed in the 1956 Olympics, but without much success. In between Olympic appearances, he served in the Korean War.

After his Oslo silver medal, his biggest competitive moment came in the 1955 World Championships, when he finished third in the 500 meters. At the 1960 Olympics, McDermott was chosen by the U.S. team to carry the flag into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony. McDermott’s career was with the U.S. Postal Service, for whom he held various management positions. He was inducted into the National Speedskating Hall of Fame in 1976.

Personal Bests: 500 – 40.5 (1959); 1500 – 2:18.6 (1956); 5000 – 8:50.0 (1956).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) USA Don McDermott
500 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 28
1956 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) USA Don McDermott
500 metres, Men (Olympic) =25
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 37

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1960 Winter Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony USA Don McDermott
1960 Winter Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony USA Don McDermott